The ABCs of trucking

Sept. 9, 2014
Learning the industry’s language helps the communication process

Just like any other industry, trucking has its own jargon. Do you know these acronyms and terms related to trucking? RFP (request for proposal); BOL (bill of lading); COE (cab over engine); PAD (pickup and delivery); EOBR (electronic onboard recorder); RGN  (removable gooseneck trailer); HOS (hours of service); GVW  (gross vehicle weight); LTL (less-than-truckload); LCV (long combination vehicle); MRO (medical review officer); O/O ( owner-operator); PM (preventive maintenance); TL  (truckload); TOFC (trailer on flat car); ULSD (ultra-low sulfur diesel); 3PL (third-party logistics company); DPF (diesel particulate filter); GAWR (gross axle weight rating); GCW (gross combination weight); IFTA (international fuel tax agreement); CVSA (Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance); and VMRS (vehicle maintenance reporting standards).

We also have words and terms in trucking that may have other meanings or are invented words used to address industry concerns. Some of these are:

Bogie (also Bogy)—the assembly of two or more axles on a tractor or trailer; also the center point between two tandem axles. To determine a truck’s wheelbase, measure from the bogy between the tandems to the center point on the front axle.

Deadheading—operating a truck without cargo to a new location to load

Driver retainment—the process required to keep a trucker employed by a carrier

Gladhand—a connector containing rubber or silicone gaskets used to attach airlines on a tractor to the ones on the trailer

Gross out—loading a trailer that reaches its GVW before the internal volume is filled

Hazmat—hazardous materials requiring specific handling and placarding in order to transport

Linehaul—linehaul (LH) revenue paid to a trucker for regular transportation from a point of origin to a final point of destination; excludes pickup and delivery service, fuel surcharges or extras like liftgate, inside delivery, etc.

Lowboy—flatbed trailer with a deck height very low to the ground; oversize and weight loads

Peddle run—truck route with frequent pickup and delivery stops, typically a garbage truck or package delivery service

Piggyback—semi-trailer with reinforced frame and sides to withstand transport by a railroad flat car

Pigtail—a cable used to transmit electrical power from the tractor to the trailer
Reefer —refrigerated trailer

Slack adjuster—adjustable device on the brake chamber pushrod used in maintaining air brake adjustment

Tandems—pair of axles and suspension located close together

Tare weight—the empty or unladen weight of a truck and trailer

Tridems—group of three axles on a truck, tractor or trailer; used to distribute GVW over more tire area

Trip leasing—leasing a company’s vehicle to another transportation provider for a single trip 

Yard jockey —trucker who operates a yard mule

Yard mule—semi-tractor used to move trailers around a terminal, warehouse or distribution center

So, how did you do? Understanding the industry language is very important when communicating with others in trucking. It keeps everyone in the same lane.
Contact Tim Brady at 731-749-8567 or at

About the Author

Timothy Brady

Timothy Brady is an author, columnist, speaker and business coach who provides information, training and educational presentations for small to large trucking companies, logistics organizations and community groups. He’s the business editor for American Trucker Magazine, the “Answer Guy” for trucking education website, an author and business editor for Write Up The Road Publishing & Media and freelance journalist. An expert in crafting solutions to industry challenges after 25 years in trucking, Brady’s held positions from company driver to owner-operator to small trucking business owner. Along with sales and business management, he has a well-rounded wealth of experience and knowledge.

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